Recently I wrote a post about Posadas, Piñatas and Ponche. In it, I described some of my family’s Christmas traditions in México. But don’t think for a second those were all the traditions!
We love celebrations in México and we always try to extend the holidays as much as we can. What would you say if I told you we extend the Christmas holiday season out to February 2nd? Here is how.
New Year Celebration
When I was growing up we always spent Christmas with my mom’s family and New Year with my dad’s, two totally different celebrations. I remember getting together one New Year’s Eve, 100 of us, we rented a ranch, hired a band, and danced our hearts out until 4 in the morning. We slept for five hours and then kept celebrating. It was so much fun! Every family has its own way of celebrating, but there are some fun traditions we like to follow at New Year’s:
– 12 wishes, 12 grapes: After eating dinner, talking, and playing, we wait for the church bells to ring at midnight. With each ring, we make a wish and pop a grape into our mouths. As you might imagine, it is hard eating 12 grapes in 12 seconds. (I would choose small seedless grapes, though!)
– Underwear: This is big: In Mexico, there is this belief that if you wear underwear of a specific color at New Year’s Eve, you will have luck in the new year. Red is for love and yellow is for money. It is funny to see the big displays of red and yellow underwear in stores at the New Year. There are some rules to this. You must wear a brand new pair, if it is given to you as a present, even better! My friends and I used to give each other red calzones hoping we would find the love of our lives in the coming year.
– Do you want to travel next year? Easy, take an empty suitcase and walk around the block with it on New Year’s Eve, if you have a big house, walking around it will do!
– Goodbye to the Old, Hello to the New: Some families sweep their homes from the back room to the front door, taking out the old in order to bring in the new, then they throw some coins into the house from the front door to bring prosperity in the new year.
Día de Reyes – January 5-6
This is big, too, if you are a child, it is even bigger. Santa Claus usually doesn’t come to Mexico, he is really busy visiting other countries, so the Three Wise Men come instead and bring presents to kids on the morning of January 6th. But the party starts on the 5th when families get together and, after dinner, cut La Rosca de Reyes, a beautiful oval shaped bread with sweet dried fruit and sugar on top. It is divine dipped in hot chocolate.
The rosca has some surprises as well. Depending on the size, it will have 3 to 5 Muñequitos (little plastic dolls that represent baby Jesus). The rule says if you discover one of them inside your slice of bread, you are obligated to host another party which take us to…
Día de la Candelaria – February 2nd
On this day families go to church and bring their little Jesus, the ones resting in their nativity sets (yes, we keep our nativity sets until then). The baby Jesus is dressed in a beautiful festive gown. The family receives a blessing and then returns home and puts away the nativity set for next year. To celebrate, those who got the little dolls on Día de Reyes in their slice of Rosca de Reyes must organize the party. The menu is always the same, Tamales and Atole (a corn based hot sweet beverage), yummy!!
As you can see we have tons of traditions and visiting Mexico this time of year is truly fun and magical. It’s my favorite time of year… I wish I were there!
Disclosure: I´m being compensated for my work in creating content for the México Today Program. All stories, opinions, and passion for all things México shared here are completely my own.
Mexico Today is an initiative of Marca País – Imagen de México, a joint public and private sector initiative designed to help promote Mexico as a global business partner and as an unrivaled tourist destination. The program is designed to shine a light on the Mexico that its people experience every day.
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nice to know ur family stil keeps ur holiday tradition..nice story
My sisters in law from Baja when spending new years with us in San Diego always walk around the block with empty suitcases and write a list of affirmations and then they burn the paper. Don’t remember why but they do.
Thanks for your comment Maribel, I totally forgot about the burning of the paper messages! I should do that!